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Washington Journal

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Washington 19, Us 15, California 12, New York 12, Ms. Norton 9, John Boehner 8, Mary Agnes Carey 8, Georgia 7, Grover Norquist 7, Utah 7, Harry Reid 6, United States 6, U.s. 5, Tom Coburn 5, Obama 4, Tennessee 4, Mr. Norquist 4, Mr. Chaffetz 4, Columbia 4, Obamacare 4,
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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Live morning call-in program with  
   government officials, political leaders, and journalists.  

    December 13, 2012
    7:00 - 10:00am EST  

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host: the two-hour washington journal this morning. the house and is in at 9:00. open telephones for any public policy issue you would like to discuss. you can see the numbers on your screen. you can also contact us on twitter, facebook, or by e-mail. you can see the addresses on your screen. let's start with an update on the so called "fiscal cliff." this is the washington post --
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in a side arbucarticle --
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that the washington post report on the fiscal cliff this morning. here's an article from "washington times" -- now this is from "politico." a situation that was in the paper
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couple weeks ago. looks li finally, before we go to phone calls, this article from the daily caller --
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again, that is reported in the daily caller. we begin with a call from diane in julian, california, on our democratic line. caller: good morning, peter. my prediction came true, reelecting a president. women against violence acts, being held up by the house. john boehner and the republican house majority leader eric cantor. i tweeted last night quiet late saying the republicans are going
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to gang up on john boehner. there is an article in the new york times showing they feel he is dragging his feet and waiting until january 3. i also understand that the chairman of the government oversight and reform committee darrell issa, which is from our district here, is holding up the vote on the women against violence act also, which involves the illegals, native americans, and lgbt. this is a coal in the christmas stocking for women who helped to get president obama reelected, and is an attack on medicaid for women that have children, and seniors and -- host: we will leave it there. thanks for calling.
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olean is in tennessee, republican -- leeann. caller: we need to have more cuts. look at all the thousands obama has put on the payroll. we have 109 million government workers. 49 million people on food stamps whole. them with a free cell phone that has been given to them. if he cannot find any place to cut anything, how about 16,000 block that he's putting on disability. $16,000.ws and dollar host: where did you get that figure? caller: the pennsylvania department of public welfare was talking about how people on welfare are getting more money than people working. a family of three gets $6,300
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for food, $6,000 for medical, 4300 for section 8 housing, a $5,000 check for something else. and free telephone. it's unbelievable. host: go back to that 109 million figure. you said working for the government or did you mismean receiving benefits from government? caller: yes. host: would you support any tax increases? caller: if there are absolutely some cuts made. we have sat down with the democrats before. they say they will make cuts and they never do. we all know the federal worker that arranged the trip to las vegas and sits in the hot tub with the champagne, he refused to answer. he got a $9,000 bonus but refused to answer questions when he was called before congress.
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he retires with a pension of $100,000. i don't know anybody in my family that makes that, and they actually work. and he's getting a pension. that needs to be looked at. government workers get away more in benefits, and in salary and work less than people actually working today their salaries. host: thanks for calling. jonica pennsylvania on our independent line. caller: it's too bad you don't have an instantaneous fact check button.ton in fron that's for the last caller. you guys have forgotten about a particular man, with all these tax and cut talks, you guys
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should have him on to talk about it. primarily, systems and everything else. nfro wheelerit back on. host: thanks for calling. caller: genius robert is my complete name. good morning, peter. i would like to focus on the blame game. i would like to be very specific. at the end of clinton, the economy awas not bad. owe a lot of money. we had a certain amount of taxes and we went to war and all these
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other little gimmies under bush. the taxes should have gone up to about 43% on account of when you go to war you have to pay for it. war is very expensive. you see the elements of war all over the place. so many crooked legs and missing legs and you feel real bad to see that. people have gotten away from blaming the republicans for creating a mass -- mess. there was a very good article that spoke about the wrecking crew. when you wreck the whole state of michigan, and the jobs go down to the south. the south feels very happy about getting all the jobs, but michigan goes through maybe 25 or 30 years of dismantling. that's why we have all the
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programs trying to save people's skin and life and nourishment. the constitution says to promote the general welfare. host: i apologize. we have to keep moving. this in the new york times --
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carl in west virginia, republican line. you are on the washington journal. good morning. caller: good morning. i watched your show every morning and sometimes i get a big laugh out of you guys. if you read every article with something negative about the republican party. you have straw men set up. first you blamed george bush for
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four more years. now you are blaming grover norquist. he is the bogeyman of the democrats now. in order for a republican to get back in power, we are going to have to infiltrate the news media and we are going to have to infiltrate the educational system, because our kids are absolutely being indoctrinated in our school systems to believe in socialist form of government. and until we get some of our people where you are sitting and where these teachers in the classroom are teaching, we will not get back in power. thank you. host: grover norquist will be here in about 15 minutes to take your calls. this is a column this morning in the wall street journal --
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dan concludes his column this way --
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right below that is karl rove's weekly column in the wall street journal. "what obama is really bargaining for" is the headline.
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that caller of this morning in the wall street journal. this is gary in ohio on our independent line. caller: good morning. i feel that the united states is divided. just like your show, you have a republican member, democratic member, independents number. as long as we can -- they can divide us into 3 or four groups, they are going to do with a one- two. just like at the conventions for both parties, how on the screen they read off of, they took a vote and had it scripted on the screen what was going to happen. they already had the answer on the screen. you get all this stuff out of
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d.c. and no one has said a word for six months about libel. -- libor. guys th these guys have been setting the bank rates 40 years. nobody gets in trouble or goes to jail. there is no law in washington. they are running the guns. it's up about gunrunning. there is as much dope down there as there is gunrunning. host: thank you for calling. from "the daily caller" --
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and this is an article in roll call --
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about that is from roll call this morning. john in winfields, missouri, a democrat. you are on the air. good morning. caller: good morning. i am not for raising taxes on anybody. what they need to do is not start at the bottom. they need to start at the top, cut their budget. take 30% off their payroll. excuse me -- that's about all.
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host: brad is in hammond, louisiana, republican. caller: good morning. i was calling to make a comment on raising taxes on the rich. host: we are listening. caller: now they say they want to cut taxes for the middle class. why would they take from the poor and give back to the rich? there are poor people in louisiana that nobody cares about. they aren't making it harder. they talk about crime rates, robbery and burglary. my main concern is why do the poor or the middle class after a struggle for so long when you have rich people that don't want to pay taxes?
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host: all right. the house foreign affairs committee, secretary clinton to testify before the committee on benghazi and the accountability review board. the u.s. house of representatives committee on foreign affairs will hold a hearing on thursday, december 20 on the benghazi attacke. secretary clinton will be testifying. c-span will cover this on thursday at 1:00 p.m. eastern time. c-span cameras will be there. front page of the national journal this morning --
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on tuesday he delivered the gop talking points about the need for more spending cuts as part of any deal, while downplaying the role of raising income-tax rates on wealthier earners, which the white house trumpets often. boosting rates on the rich, he said, would provide enough money to run the government for eight days. that has nothing to do with spending, getting spending in line. other than performing requisite task, mitch mcconnell has not emerged as a huge presence in the ongoing fiscal cliff narrative. that is a change from past budget and tax deals where his finger prints were evident, a fact that could affect the final outcome or subtlety of the deal. that the national journal reporting. paul is an independent in enterprise, alabama. go ahead.
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caller: good morning. what a debacle out there. i sure would like someone to think out of the box. this back and forth. i think i may have an idea specifically towards the defense spending reductions. i know this will not be popular with a lot of people, but what do the marines do, that the army, navy, and air force cannot do? if your answer is amphibious assaults, include a couple amphibious assault-trained battalions or brigade's within each combat division or add another week to the army basic training for amphibious assault. just think about the duplication that could be eliminated with this concept. if all those that are in the
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defense industry now, as they profess that our future wars will be more of a technology base, this seems appropriate. out of the box, and popular, yes. complicated and hard to do, but that is my suggestion. host: from the "washington times" this morning --
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and this is the wall street journal --
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finally, we want to take this call from don in michigan. caller: good morning. about the fiscal cliff, i think we should go over the cliff and then start from there. freedom is not free. we have forced to pay for --
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wars to pay for. we have to pay bills. god bless america and c-span. everybody have a great day. host: thank you. we have two guests. we will continue looking at the so called "fiscal cliff" negotiations with mary agnes carey of kaiser health news. we will specifically look at how medicare may be affected by the fiscal cliff. next is grover norquist. we want to put the numbers up on the screen so you can have your chance to talk with mr. norquist. mr. norquist will be out here in just a minute so you can go ahead and start dialing your phones now. first, in the new york times, this article showing senator joe lieberman.
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he made his farewell speech yesterday. [video clip] >> barriers of discrimination and bigotry that a few decades ago seemed removable. doors of opportunity have been opened wider for all americans regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or disability. during my time here in washington we have had our first female secretary of state nominated and confirmed, and our first african-american president elected and reelected. it will forever remain one of my deepest honors, thanks to vice president al gore, i was given the opportunity to be the first jewish american nominated by a major political party for national office. and, incidentally, thanks to the american people, grateful to
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have received a half trillion more votes than my opponent on the other side. [laughter] but that is a longer story. while there is still much work to do and many problems to be solved, i believe we can and should approach our future with a confidence that is based on the real and substantial progress we have made together. what is required now is to solve the urgent problems we still have. what is really required to do that is leadership. leadership of a kind that is never easy but which we as americans know we can summon in times of need, because we have summoned it before. today i regret to say as i leave the senate that the greatest obstacle that i see standing between us and a brighter american future we all want is right here in washington.
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the partisan polarization of our politics, which prevents us from making a principled compromise on which progress in a democracy depends. right now it prevents us from restoring our fiscal solvency as a nation. we need bipartisan leadership to break the gridlock in washington that will unleash all the potential that is in the american people. and so, i would respectfully make this appeal to my colleagues, especially the 12 new senators who will take the oath of office for the first time next month. i know how hard each of you has worked to get elected to the united states senate. and i know that you worked so hard because you wanted to come here to make a difference for the better. there's no magical mystery about the way to do so in the u.s.
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senate. it requires reaching across the aisle and finding partners from the opposite party. it means ultimately putting the interests of country and constituents ahead of the dictates of party and ideology. >> "washington journal" continues. host: someone who's been in the news and on the news lately is on your screen now, grover norquist, president of americans for tax reform. mr. norquist, make your case for no tax increases at this point in our economic situation. guest: peter years ago president obama extended all of the tax cuts that lapse degenerate. he did so because he said the economy was weak and raising taxes ordered. the economy is not any stronger now than it was. in addition to the tax increase, he wants to impose by letting some of the bush tax cuts laps, he has already got a
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trillion dollars in tax increases that starting in january to pay for obamacare. when you think about fiscal cliff, the bush tax cuts have collapsed, sequestration cuts spending, and then there's a trillion dollar tax increase that obama has over the next decade to pay for obamacare. interestingly, he decided to delay those taxes until after he was reelected. but they start kicking in in january. very painful and hit the middle class hard. the reason not to raise taxes is to have a spending problem. we spent too much money. raising taxes is not part of spending less. it's not part of a compromise or anything. it is what politicians do instead of. reforming of - instead of reforming government. europeans eventually put in energy taxes and that is what obama is doing. he spent his five trillion
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dollars in the first term and wants to take us a trillion dollars more in debt over the next decade. there's no way to raise taxes to pay for that. we have to rein in spending. raising taxes is what politicians do when they don't have the courage to reform government. host: you can read this new press release on the internet. canada and middle-class families face high medical bills tax under obamacare, it says. here's the pledge you have heard so much about brokest request sent to members of congress.
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mr. norquist, there's no mention of spending in here. but you do mention the elimination of deductions. that is one of the issues on the table now is changing the tax system, eliminating some deductions. if they are matched by spending cuts, does that work for you? guest: the pledge's focus is on the tax issue. until you say no to tax increases, historically, politicians never look for spending restraint. in 1982 they said ronald reagan let's raise taxes and we will cut spending. they raised taxes and spending did not go down. it went up. then they went to bush eight years later, who learned nothing from reagan, and they said we will give you $2 of imaginary spending cuts for every dollar tax increase why not offer them $10 in
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imaginary, since it is all imaginary? he was offered $2. spending went up and not down. so we have played this game before. politicians who want to spend more money say we will cut spending in return for tax increases. they take the tax increases. because of that, you have to get to spending restraint. the 50 states have made a commitment not to raise taxes. those states that don't raise taxes, texas, florida, reform government. those states where taxes are on the table, maryland keeps raising taxes and spending like crazy. illinois keeps raising taxes instead of reforming government. california just decided to raise taxes instead of reforming their pension system. so the states are divided into those states that don't raise taxes and are reforming government. those states that to raise taxes that don't reform government. host: the first call, joe in georgia, republican line. caller: peter, i think grover
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norquist is the greatest taxpayer champion in history. we love him in georgia. we totally agree with him. we think the answer is electing more people like tom price. my big question is i think a lot of john boehner, and he's been there 22 years. a lot of us in georgia feel tom price ought to be elected speaker. he would be much more aggressive and would not capitulate on taxes to obama. what do you think of tom price being speaker? grover, you are a national hero. but you are exactly right on taxes. god bless you. guest: thank you. very kind comments. all the republicans in georgia in the house of representatives have been stalwarts in opposing tax increases. neither of the republican senators have voted for a tax increase. congressman price is a great republican leader and a great conservative leader. i point to john boehner's
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success over the last years in holding all the republicans together not to oppose the stimulus package where obama and nancy pelosi put tempting cash on the table, other people's money, and the setup which congress person would like to take some of this home and spent it? some republican appropriators were tempted to do a little shoplifting, but everyone of them decided not to. not only their own internal good behavior helped on that but the leadership from john boehner in explaining that if you want to go to the american people and change the direction from the tax and spend that obama was moving people into, you cannot have your finger prints on the murder weapon. you cannot engage in that sort of tax and spend policy and then go to the american people and say trust us because we do it better. you really have to make the
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difference clear. i think that he's done a pretty good job of that. everyone can improve. i know the republicans in the house are working with john boehner to make sure they have the strongest position against obamacare and his taxes and regulations and against the eight overspending of the last four plus years. host: are you in contact now with the speaker? guest: i work with all the leadership in the house and senate. that has been for the last 20 years. always in touch and trying to be helpful. they're all pretty good on taxes. host: in virginia, phil, democrat. caller: hi. i have a couple comments. i don't think it's fair to say that reagan got spending cuts. let me go to my main comments. i have heard increases in the
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marginal tax rate may actually be good for hiring and increasing itemized deductions. an increase in the marginal tax rate at the top end would make an itemized deduction and additional hiring more valuable to a business, for the value of that charitable deduction, the additional hire. if a company is just a little bit over a the threshold and wants to take a deduction to bring in additional men, then it's worth more to him. host: let's get a response. guest: there are several approaches. there's the personal income tax. many small businesses pay the personal income tax.
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it is subchapter s corporations. obama plans to take taxes on small businesses at 43.4% top from 35 today. like ibm and other corporate entities, that's 5%. they don't plan to raise that. there's a move in the united states to try to reduce that to 25%. the reason is the average business tax in europe is 25%. like france is not where we want to be on tax policy. the canadians are at 17%. where you have high marginal tax rates, it slows economic growth. you can see it on the corporate side and on the individual side. we will over time take the corporate rate to 25 from 35. because it will be better for growth, we will actually have more revenue for the government and not less. with government growth at 4% per
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year, reagan levels, versus 2% per year, france over last 20 years or obama over last four, you do that for decades, the federal cabinet raises $5 trillion in additional tax revenue. the best way to get revenue for the government at such strong, robust and jobs-creating economic growth. unfortunately, president obama and the democrats have taken the opposite direction over the last four years. that's why we are in this mess. host: now to an independent in georgia, al. if i would push the right button. sorry about that. al, good morning. caller: good morning. the last time you were on c- span, i managed to get through. it was on the heels of you going to atlanta and to chastising the legislature here over transportation tax.
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guest: how did george a vote on that? caller: 9 begins out of 12 voted it down. unfortunately, the one that i am in voted it in on the heels of support by republicans. that's why i have a bone to pick with you this morning, grover. guest: i urged people to vote against that tax increase, because i knew they would spend money on [indiscernible]. caller: the guy on before me call your carpetbagger. guest: i'm from boston. host: once the bone you want to pick? caller: in the 12th district we had a guy who voted for that tax increase and voted for the hospital bed tax, in the legislature. he got an aide% republican advantage in the 12th district. those of us who consider
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ourselves real conservatives had to go out and overcome that eight point differential and we managed to defeat anderson by eight points. guest: what did you get stuck with? caller: our region was one of the three that voted for it. guest: anderson had the tax increase. republicans to raise taxes as young politicians have to live with the fact that it goes on with them the rest of their lives and their capacity to govern rather than raise taxes follows them forever. it is a mistake. don't raise taxes. speak to and politicians, shape them sternly. don't raise taxes, young man. this is not considered a useful quality. it's not like smoking marijuana once or twice. it is a social disease. -ever.raise taxes -
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host: grover norquist got his degree from harvard. you already have the protection pledge for the 113 congress, the incoming congress next year. 219 representatives and 39 senators have signed that. a couple of them have been making some noise right now. i want to get your reaction. saxby chambliss has signed this. peter king has signed the pledge for next year for new york. speaker john boehner has also signed this as well. 16 gop members of the house have not signed for the next congress. 6 gop u.s. senators have not signed. what about saxby chambliss and peter king? guest: saxby chambliss has not voted for a tax increase, to be fair. you can criticize him for public misstating the impure thoughts,
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and he has not voted for it. what he has said in georgia last sunday, that he would consider reducing rates and broadening the base and taking 15% of the higher taxes and spending that, paying down the debt with it. so there would be a tax increase, a middle-class increase, after you dropped rates and broaden the base. since the modern democratic party is dead set against g marginal tax rates, he has laid out a set of conditions that will never be met. the south carolina and instagram has also said if you give $10 of entitlement form that cannot be revoked, he might consider a tax increase. it would have to be your vocable. obama is offering a for "new
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york times as much in tax increases as phony spending cuts. the opposite ratio of what they cheated reagan and bush with, he's trying to cheat mitch mcconnell with. almost no spending restraint at all. i understand why some people think out loud about hypothetical. the challenge is for those republicans who say i might do this if you did that, is the new york times takes the first of foia words , "i might raise taxes"and, they put you in the category and they don't listen to the serious and sophisticated comments of some of the congress people have said about this large a spending cut. so, tactically, it's a mistake. nobody here is the spending cuts you are talking about, because you get cut off after you say i will raise taxes. end of conversation. they put you on the tax
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increases. it's not fair to some of those guys. the good news is, these are the same people who two years ago made the same, we were doing the budget control act with the debt ceiling increase. we might do this. the republicans did not do that. i think we are in very good shape in terms of keeping people who have made their commitment to the people of georgia or south carolina and making sure it to have them keep the commitment. one of the things that sometimes confusing is harry reid, the democratic leader in the senate, likes to give speeches suggesting that the pledges to me personally. he should read it. it is to the people of your state. as long as you are in. the house. it is very clear. by neary. toe people you have to talk on this issue are the people in your state. -- it is binary.
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a republican just one in nevada defeating a liberal democrat harry reid was supporting. nevada is sending a message to harry reid, please knock it off with the tax hikes. host: senator tom coburn, here's what he had to say recently -- guest: tom coburn said the exact same thing two years ago. we have long conversation, phone. he said we are trying to get to $0.50 trillion spending restraint -- $2.5 trillion. john boehner has reiterated that we have not focused on the debt
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ceiling sufficiently, he has said you have to cut spending if you want to raise the debt ceiling. tom coburn thought you had to raise taxes to support that. he was wrong. we got the spending restraints are written into law, because we took tax increases off the table. tom coburn went into the gang of 64 months and months and had to walk out of the room because dick durbin and the democrats were not willing to reduce spending. he had to call me and say that i was right and he was wrong. in his conversation with dick durbin he learned that we're not interested in cutting spending -- they're not interested in cutting spending. only when you take tax increases off the table -- and coburn's strategic thinking was just flawed. but after understand where the other team is coming from. if you put taxes on the table,
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they cannot focus on any thing else. i don't even see or hear your conversation about spending. you talk about the obamacare medical tax earlier, we just put this out on our website. obama is now born to a tax starting date refers to, low income people who have high medical bills. that is one of the groups paying for obamacare. right now, if your medical bill, out-of-pocket medical bills are over 7.5% percent of your income -- and it's mostly low-income people -- the average person that gets hit by this makes $50,000 a year, you can deduct that from your taxable income when you pay taxes spirit saves a lot of money for a lot of taxpayers. obama is taking that to 10%, which means billion millions of americans who are sick and have extraordinary health care bills
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are being taxed by obamacare. it is a hidden tax. nobody saw this tax until january 1, coming up. if obama did not run eds saying i'm going to tax six people to pay for my program. yet that is what is hitting on january 1. add to that if you are missing a leg and need a prosthetic device, obama has a tax on that. if you need a pacemaker or extent, there's a tax on that. all medical devices are being hit with an across-the-board tax that is supposed to reduce the cost of health care. it raises the cost. taxing middle-income very ill people with serious medical bills and he taxes everything used in hospitals such as medical devices. why did obama and harry reid and nancy pelosi continually delayed these tax increases until after basically got reelected? now there are 17 democrats who of gridley sent a letter saying could be delayed this tax increase because it will kill
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jobs in my state because we have people who manufacture pacemakers and such. so would they voted against it before they wrote the stern note. they voted for it before they wrote the sternly written notice against -- i'm remembering my john kerry back and forth. but this is very damaging to our health care system. host: in rawlins, on our republican line, a go-ahead, eustice. caller: this is a capitalist country. taxes are never going down. the everyday people, a lower class, it seems the republicans are fighting for the middle class and the rich. the reason why they lost the election is because of the lower class. you have to start thinking about the 2016 was going to happen.
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obamacare seems to be helping out the lower class. your book called "let my people go," is a really good book to lead to black people know where they stand in the economics. it's a really good book. host: i will get the book from steve. thank you for that. guest: when you were talking about obamacare, and you need not to read the press releases that obama puts out about what it is supposed to do. you need to actually look at the tax increases in it, the regulations in it. the next 4 years will be very ugly when it comes to economics. all the ugly parts of obamacare that he did not want you to focus on, those take place over the next four years.
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the things that he thought people would appreciate, those have happened already. those are the ones they spoke about before the election. we are now seeing the tax increases. this is not going to be free. there are massive tax increases that i just talked about such as medical devices. they are raising taxes on six people. average income of $53,000 a year, they would get hit by a tax increase on people with high medical bills. atr.org has the right up on it appeared there are five obamacare taxes that will hit january 1. that is the real permanent non- moving fiscal cliff bridge abutment that we will run into in january. host: madison, wisconsin, a democrat, joline. caller: good morning. i called to thank you and the republican party for causing the
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people to rise up and vote. i have never seen so many young people that stood in line to vote. all the d not win aith al attack money that you spent. your party puts us your party will not occupy the white house for the next 20 years unless you grow up and except that this is a new day. guest: ok. regis had an election and a lot of people voted -- we just had an election. they voted twice for the ryan debt.hich reduces obama's
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it does tax reform and takes the corporate individual right the 25%. the democrats in the senate have avoided voting on a budget for 3 or four years. patty murray runs the committee to write budgets. it was all politics and no governing. joe lieberman was complaining about his own party a few minutes ago. there are 20 democrat governors. wisconsin has a republican governor and a republican house and senate. 13 states have a democrat governor and a democratic control of the congress.
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the senate elected a majority of people that hid from the american people what their policies were. if you can get elected by putting your position, it is hard to argue you have a mandate. budget was put up for a vote in the house. the republicans put up a vote. this is the policy obama claims he has a mandate for. there was a mandate and it was in the house of representatives. neither the president or senate late out a budget as the
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republicans did. it would be nice if there was a budget and maybe patty murray could try and govern for a while. harry reid may want to do the same thing. then we could have a discussion. these negotiations between speaker boehner and obama need to beat on c-span. what is said, the american people need to see. it is no good to have secret meetings. there.ave c-span cameras when there is an agreement, put it on line so every american can read it. obama promised big things would
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be done on c-span. he has the opportunity to make this promise, to keep that commitment. he promised he would put things on line so they could be read before they got voted. as long as americans can read the bill, i think we will avoid raising taxes on the american people. we have to go after the obamacare taxes and get rid of those. host: richard from florida. caller: good morning. you are a popular and you can talk to just about everybody. the office of management and budget' sought a book -- puts ot
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a book. we could save $900 billion a year getting rid of duplication and fraud and this is in the book. instead of doing all the taxes and other garbage, let's go through this book and do our job. it seems you are the only one they are listening to. sane.is in we give you a dollar and they spend $15. host: we got your point of view. guest: several good points. there is a list of spending restraints. in number of lists -- heritage
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-- and americans for tax reform has put together a list on a number of ways to reduce spending. we need to focus on making government more efficient. but start by focusing on some of these lists of ways to reduce savings. all the conversation about tax increase crowds all efforts to reform government so it costs less. host: this from the associated press. it jim demint was on cbs this morning and this is a quotation .
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guest: he is pointing out that obama appears to be pushing us over the fiscal cliff and that taxes will be increased automatically for obamacare. obama promised he would not tax the middle class. truthn't exactly say the when he ran for office and when he passed obamacare. we have massive tax increases. politicians say they will raise taxes on the rich and then they raise taxes on everybody. an example is the alternative
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minimum tax. bonds.'t tax municipal that group to where it hits 4 million people a day. it will hit 30 million families . that is how a tax on the rich leads into a tax on 30 million people. when the republicans passed the tax cuts, democrats said they were tax cuts for the rich. 80% of the tax cuts goes to the middle class and it is awful to let that lapse. they voted against the middle class tax cut but now they want to keep it. we need to monitor how this
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goes. january 1 is the beginning of the fight. republicans have three tools. the first is the sequester. $1.2 trillion. the debt ceiling vote will come up every month or so as obama keeps hitting the ceiling. that gives them discipline to require spending restraint. the continuing resolutions. harry reid plays politics instead of governing. they will just keep it going. they have to vote to keep that money going. they said it will extend it
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weeks. the republicans forced him to do the things he said he was for. we have lots of things obama claims he is for. we will make him make those spending restraints. obama will be on a short leash fiscally speaking for the next four years. he may decide to block small countries he cannot renounce -- he may decide to blow up small countries he cannot pronounce. if he got everything he wanted
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in his budget, he is still $8 trillion short. subpoena the documents on carbon tax they have been discussing at treasury. they might be for a carbon tax if the republicans would recommend it. that is a body blow to middle- income americans. that is the real fight obama wants. that is the only to get spending up. host: colleen in new jersey. caller: i have a couple of comments. merry christmas. i cannot tell you how important you are to people.
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we in new jersey -- you need to expose these people like amy klobuchar on the medical devices that democrats all voted for and now they are screaming the constituents will lose their jobs because the high taxes obamacare will put on their constituents. the taxes are coming and they are coming in strong. in new jersey, this is what our republican governor inherited. our property taxes were raised 75%. the homes here in derby county are about $300,000 -- bergen
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county. our taxes are $10,000 to $12,000 . there paying that on top of mortgage which is another $3,000. do the math. my husband and i do not make six figures. how we go to the supermarket, our grocery bills have doubled and our gas prices have doubled. you are our last voice. host: we have to leave it there. guest: thank you. it is federal taxes and state taxes and local taxes. host: do you knew peter from the hoover institution at stanford?
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guest: i am sure i do. host: he is writing this this morning in "the wall street journal." guest: there always some conservatives that argue about the government. i'm not sure that you can have a government decides that we have and not squeeze people like the caller we just saw from new jersey. tell her she shouldn't mind the
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government. world war one, world war two give us the government in this country. host: grover norquist is president for americans for tax reform, atr.org, if you like to read his pledge. guest: and the obamacare tax es. host: thank you for being on "washington journal." we will continue look at the so- called fiscal cliff with mary agnes carey of kaiser health news and look at the impact on medicare after this news update from c-span radio. >> south carolina republican jim demint predicts that president obama will win the battle over
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raising taxes. "the proposal is not a plan or a solution." senator demint said both parties have "failed the country." he thinks the president is going to get his wish. jim demint is stepping down from the senate to become the president of the heritage foundation. a disaster aid package for states hit by superstar sandy in light of october. the committee released a draft of the legislation yesterday. tom coburn noted there was significant waste, fraud, and abuse in a federal spending and he does not want the same thing to happen if sandy aid is rushed
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through congress. testimony on senate's impact on small businesses. you could hear live at 10:00 a.m. on c-span radio. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. [video clip] >> we do know the story of the cold war. we have seen the archives that describe relationships between roosevelt and stalin and truman. we have read and written the main events. i wanted to show what it felt like to be one of the people that were subjected to the system and how did people make choices and how did they react and behave. one thing that has happened is the -- we still call eastern
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europe has become differentiated. these countries no longer have much in common with one another. >> more with anne applebaum from her historical narrative sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we will continue our look at the so-called fiscal cliff and its impact on taxes on spending. today we focus on the issue of medicare. our guest is mary agnes carey, senior health correspondent for kaiser health news. how is medicare funded?
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guest: it is funded by payroll taxes. part b is the outpatient services and funded by premiums and general revenue. host: does it pay for itself? guest: the needs are met and the trustees say the program is funded through 2024 with the reduction in the healthcare law to providers. 50 million people rely on this program. it benefits individuals over the age of 65. a lot of people depend on it. host: what is the current budget for medicare?
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guest: about $550 billion for this year. host: does that include the premiums that seniors pay? guest: what they pay it will go to the payments that will go to the doctors that care for the beneficiary. host: how much is coming out of general revenue? guest: the beneficiaries pay 25% of the program in part b. in part d, you have about 32 beneficiaries that are on the program. host: medicare is divided into four parts. part a is hospital insurance.
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host: how did the affordable care act change medicare? guest: it will take $716 billion away from medicare providers. the payments will still grow. providers of care will see their reimbursements decrease. beneficiaries receive some new services. they will get some help if they are enrolled in the drug program. they will be helped to close hole. not nut host: how is medicare being look ted at? guest: medicare providers will
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be cut by 2%. providers will be cut. there was an estimate about a month ago and that medicare would be hit $11 billion next year. the payment reductions would amount to that amount of money. 2% across the board to providers. host: a proposal to raise the medicare eligibility age. guest: the negotiators would lay out perhaps a target number of spending reductions to be attained in 10 years. one is to increase the eligibility age and this is happening already in social
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security. there is a rush of baby boomers. there's a lot of opposition from seniors group and democrats and others who say this is simply a shift. the senate on to employers that might keep those employers on their health insurance and that will cost them more. the individuals may have to spend more to get health insurance. those folks may go to that program and get a subsidy. the argument against it is a shift in cost. host: what about means testing? guest: this is already in current law.
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if you earn $85,000 as a single, you pay more for your share of the premiums. one idea is the idea of looking at those figures and say how could we adjust the provision to get more revenue? the health lot freezes the current threshold -- the health law freezes the current threshold. there was a proposal until 25% of beneficiaries are paying for their premiums. this is an area that could be the basis for some bipartisan agreement. host: medicare spending in 2006 , $403 billion.
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host: if there is no agreement reached on the fiscal cliff, no beneficiary cuts. is that correct? guest: the providers are facing a 2% cut on sequestration will complain to their patients that washington is taking too much from them. host: 202 is the area code if you would like to participate. 202-585-3881 for republicans. 202-585-3880 for democrats. 202-585-3882 for independents.
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do medicare premiums go up every year automatically? guest: part b is about $99 this year and that will increase to $104 next year. beneficiaries face deductibles and co-payments. things like hearing aids and eyeglasses are not covered. some of those plans do cover those services. for the 75% of beneficiaries, they pay deductibles for their part b and they have copays and are spending a bit of money out of their pockets for health care.
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host: nancy pelosi had op-ed this morning. a nonstarter?non starte >> "how do we protect the vulnerable 66-year-old if we go this route? how can they avoid the premium? how can we protect them?" look at the savings you can achieve. could the day through a policy solution make sure that people get coverage they could afford?
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host: do you know how the people are using medicare? guest: about 50 million people. host: mary agnes carey, what is your connection to the kaiser foundation? guest: we are a program of the kaiser family foundation. my newsroom is like every other newsroom in washington. we come up with stories and pitched them to our editors. the stories run on our site and we have stories that run on our partner publications, "the new york times," "the washington post." we can reach a great audience through our website and through our partner publications.
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i've been covering health care -- i move to washington and bill clinton had just been elected. i was told to check that out. i learned a lot there uncovered appropriations and the floors. i was hired to cover health care in 1997. it affects millions of people's lives. host: have you think that editor -- have you thanked that editor? charles in las vegas. caller: i am on medicare myself. i believe republicans and democrats should have to be on
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medicare themselves instead of their own friggin' -- i think it is a joke. host: you think medicare is a joke? caller: i think everybody should be on medicare instead of their own -- host: their own plans. guest: many of congress are covered through the program. i think he is making the point if you took a look at the premiums and deductibles and compared them to medicare, would they be -- is the program more generous for seniors? would members of the staff like to be on the program?
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that's something people could evaluate and talk about. andall, good morning. caller: if on a level playing field all taxes should be raised all workers, rich or poor. i am a poor person and i receive from medicare. it is something that is needed. i would probably die without it. the jobs act should go back into the fact. do not stop the jobs act. help america get back on its feet.
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guest: i am glad you have medicare coverage. this is a critical point on capitol hill. taxes should be increased and how did you resolve the federal deficit and the debt problem? there's a big split between the democrats and republicans. these are folks making $200,000 as an individual. those tax breaks it should extend for everybody below those thresholds and republicans are very much against that. if you have not thought about this, it might be time to start doing that. host: a republican of california had an op-ed
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yesterday in "the washington times." here are some of his proposals. guest: it medicare part a and medicare part b, there are different structures. you combine those deductibles into one.
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he is talking about capping what seniors pay out of pocket. news did not have that now -- seniors do not have that now. there is concern that some policies are incentivizing markair and that they should be pared back. these are areas that could be part of the discussion going into next year. look at the supplementals and say if you want to buy the policy, you have to pay a surcharge. that is an incentive for you to consume more care. they buy that protection because they want it. half of seniors have incomes of less than $22,000 a year.
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host: what is the argument against the proposal? guest: the argument would look at look at the plan. many republicans want to have a premium support a fixed percentage that the government contributes to you for your medicare coverage. paul ryan advanced this in the house. if you limit medicare spending, what would that spend out of the pocket? combining them is not necessarily something that is purely a democratic or republican idea. host: when does the independent
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pay but advisory board take effect? guest: the president gets to appoint them. all of them. that process has not started. the advisory board is a panel to make recommendations to congress on how to control spending if it goes past a certain target. if there were nominated and confirmed, these targets would not be hit a while. medicare spending is growing. this remains a controversial part of the health law. some democrats do not like the idea of see the power to this board. the secretary has to put those into the fact. host: when it is supposed to
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take effect? guest: 2014 and later. host: tim geithner, the labor secretary, kathleen sebelius -ae on the board of trustees. host: do you know who that gentleman is? that is the only name i am not familiar with. roger, thank you for holding. you're on with mary agnes carey. caller: when is someone going to do something about the doctors and medicare and everything. i have seen it with my own eyes.
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my brother in law passed away. i went to the hospital to see him. he said he is coming back from chemo. said, what do you mean? he was supposed to pass away tomorrow. that is a $20,000 treatment. he did pass away the next day. why would they give him a $20,000 chemo treatment? guest: i am sorry for your loss. two point about physicians and care, there is a broad look in the healthcare law to look how health care is delivered through all sectors.
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it is leading the payment whether for a physician the quality of the care that is delivered. now face a 27%ht payment cuts in medicare january the first unless congress steps in to intervene. sequestration would add another 2% cut for that. physicians need more money for medicare and not less. host: good morning in california. caller: good morning. i drew early social security,
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smite medicare cake and -- once my medicare kicked in. they want $600 a month. is obamacare going to do anything to help me with that? figure.'m curious about i first thought is that that is a high amount, especially if you're living on $771 a month. get some help with the medicaid, asked about the. that would expand medicaid to individuals making up to 138% of poverty. that is an expansion to get more people covered.
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i am curious about this figure. show them this is the amount of money you're making. i am concerned about that. host: to go back to the op-ed in "the washington times." is that a point of contention by anybody? guest: everything in medicare is a point of contention. people were not expected to live as long as they do. the amount of new technology and the amount of costs that it remains there and is driving up expenditures. people who agree with that would framed that way.
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many democrats would say this is an important safety net for people. look at the last caller. she is on a low income. one idea is to take it from 25% deductible to 35%. for people on fixed income, that increase could be a lot. host: medicare pays 80% and the person is responsible for 20%. guest: you have a copayment of about $1,100. host: and that is the max. sam in woodbridge, virginia. caller: good morning, guys.
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all i can hear in the conversation is the middle class and people in the higher class. people worked her own life making minimum wages. despite the caller that mentioned $600, the care payment is $600. these are embarrassing things. [indiscernible] why can you just make hospital payments -- take their checks to the hospital. it is simple.
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middle, middle and negotiate and they end up with all those bills. take the check to the hospital -- there is not any other income. host: let's get a response from our guest. guest: the idea that when you go to the hospital, tried to figure out to charge you based on your income is a difficult administrative tasks. things like do you income relate more for higher income folks? how does medicare as a policy program decide how much to
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collect from people concerned in comes in medicare? in the discussion about income, if you may those premiums too expensive to higher income folks, it brings down the cost for the risk pool. people have said they doubt somebody 65 or older could get better insurance than medicare. when you make a policy adjustment, something else happens in another place. that is what lawmakers try to do. host: back to the board of trustees, charles blahous is in member of the board of trustees and work for george w. bush and also worked for senator alan
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simpson at one. . there is his picture on your screen. pat, a republican, good morning. and joyousod morning enjoy th noel. i am a senior and veteran of the dirty little asian war. i was having to rely on the potable water we could drink while in the military. that water cost me severe stomach ailments. i had an offer of maalox when i would go for health care. i had to resort to the health care i could provide myself. the veterans in
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administration and i'm grateful for that. but it is not enough. i have friends that our seniors, widows and friends that rely on the health-care system and did not get adequate health in their health care because they are at poverty level and they cannot supply their own needs. i would like to ask anyone who can, make your voice heard. if you tax the rich, everybody will go down. i'm going down for the last time. guest: he makes a valid point that is of deep concern for democrats and others concerned about the medicare program. they do not want anything to impact the most vulnerable
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seniors. it is more difficult to make en ds meet. medicare is a safety net. the program is to protect people. host: mary agnes carey, if sequestration takes effect, is medicate affected? guest: not at all. host: social security? guest: i don't believe so. for veterans, there would not pabe. host: we have a chart from "the washington times." the red line is medicare spending over taking social
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security spending. all other spending dropping. medicare going up and up to $1 trillion by 2030 -- 2015. connie in maryland, a democrat. caller: i was wondering why they do not make everybody pay into medicare and social security. when you get $106,000, you don't have to pay. but everybody uses it. if they would raise the cap and a means test it, i think it would help a lot. i have an idea to get rid of fraud by giving us all
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penumbrpin numbers. i think that would cut it down. guest: the cap applies to social security. medicare is a continuous. it is about 2.9%. is a slight increase for income over $200,000 for an individual. there is some of that. host: on the first dollar? guest: that starts next year. host: is there any discussion to end the cap on wages?
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guest: there is an idea about a chain cpi. it is a way to save the government about $200 billion over a decade. cpi is based on a basket of goods and services. any allowance for that. that is something you'll hear more about when it comes to social security. democrats did not want a change to social security. host: renee, you're on with mary agnes carey. caller: what are the underlying reasons for the cost of health
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care rising in the united states? is it overmedication? we want a capitalist system in health care. hospitals and doctors should post the cost of the procedures so everybody will know before they go into the office or hospital how much it will cost. guest: health care costs are rising for a variety of reasons. people want and used health care in america. it is an increase of utilization. kaiser health news, we had an edge to story who talked about trying to get the price of an m.r.i.
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try to find out how much it would cost and she could not get an answer. when she did get an answer, they were all over the map. these providers are cutting -- they have contracts with organizations to be reimbursed at certain levels. if you want to get a procedure and you're not in that plan, it will cost you more. we're used to comparison shopping. why can we do for health care? host: christine in arizona. caller: i have a couple of questions. one is with taxes. i look forward to tax time
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because i was get three times the rate of what ever i paid in back. i've gotten older, i don't understand how that's possible for somebody to get back three times what they paid in. host: any comment you want to make? guest: the cult may be talking about the man of money people pay into social security or medicare and the amount of benefits they receive. there is some discussion of what people pay in and what they receive. something to remember is looking at when there is a discussion about trying to change that. you have to remember the population that you are dealing with.
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that this summit that needs that money. -- that is somebody that needs that money. what they received was more than they paid in, but what else are you going to do for the person? they need those benefits. the idea of income relating is getting a lot of traction. that have high incomes so should they pay more for their premiums? host: back to the op-ed from yesterday in "the washington times."
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host: nancy in milwaukee, democrat. caller: good morning. regarding disability. disability claims are going up. how does that affect the medicare futures? at?s anyone follow-up on th is there a single payer program that is medicare for all? guest: people under 65 on disability can get coverage and this will impact - they do qualify for medicare. if more people were allowed to purchase many care, this is an
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idea that's been out there. some people call it medicare for all. this is perhaps the more affordable way to provide people coverage. with the pressure of the baby boomers, this might give lawmakers pause to get more people to buy into medicare. we are talking about the fiscal cliff and the january 1 deadline. if an airline is reached on entitlement spending, this discussion will continue well into 2013, perhaps even beyond. we will have more cliffs and
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more drama about a deal because these decisions are very hard. the discussion about changing medicare -- haven't a change in company structure -- -- hav ing a co-pay in struction -ture these ideas have been out there. host: we have about a minute left. caller: good morning. one thing that a caller was talking about was to compare the benefits and what the representatives get today and what medicare people deaget. these people are looking for cuts in benefits.
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the benefits go up every day. i am a health-care provider. to% of $100 is $2 -- 2% of $100 $2. guest: the amount of money they make a year increases. it is one of the things that is out there and remains a concern looking at what federal employees receive and members of congress received and are they getting a generous package? host: mary agnes carey is a senior health correspondent with kaiser health news. how often do you do your web casts?
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ek or so.ery weaker host: do expect to be busy with health care? guest: we expect to be a very busy. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: loving god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. in the waning days of this 112th congress, we ask your blessing, o lord, upon the members of this people's house
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and most importantly upon the leadership. it's on their shoulders the most important negotiations of our time have been placed. they have been entrusted by their fellow americans by the awesome privilege of sustaining the great experiment of democratic self-government. give them wisdom, grace, insight and courage to forge an agreement that allows us all to move forward toward an encouraging future. may all that is done this day be for your greater honor and glory. amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance today will be led by the gentleman from arkansas, mr. womb -- womack. mr. womack: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and
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justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to five requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker: does the gentleman ask for unanimous consent? >> i do. the speaker: without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i want to commend governor bill haslem of my home state of tennessee for his decision not to set up a state-run health care exchange. governor haslem was exact low right when he said this was a business decision, not a political one. after two years the obama administration has failed to provide states with sufficient guidance as to how the state exchanges would function. yet, president obama expects states to make that decision this week. that's like asking a business to sign a contract that's still being written. further, there is evidence that the federal government will ultimately control exchanges no matter who creates them. the only difference is if a
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state sets up an exchange, it will pay for it. no business would take a deal like that. finally, tennessee has seen what experimental health care reform looks like in tenncare. what business would risk its finances on a proposal modeled after a failed plan? i applaud governor haslem and thank him for his business-like approach and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise because whether you call it a fiscal cliff or a slope there's no denying the environmental wreckage hitting a met foric ledge will have. mr. quigley: they will have to close campgrounds. widespread rural job loss, weaker wildlife management,
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poor maintenance of forest roads, unprocessed recreational requests and $48 million will be taken from the u.s. energy efficiency and renewable energy program which will be equivalent to cutting the solar program in half or equal to eliminating the entire wind and geothermal energy program. we must act and act now. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. olson: mr. speaker, i rise to honor the legendary mayor of richmond, texas. mayor moore passed away last week after 63 years as
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richmond's mayor. he was a true texan, a straight shooter who loved his family, good conversation, quayle hunting, ranching -- quail hunting, ranching and texas longhorn football. the last time i talked with mayor moore was richmond's 175th anniversary. my speech was interrupted by trains roaring by. the trains did not dare to interrupt mayor moore. i asked him, how can i do that? he said, give it time. give it time. he gave richmond time. the time of his life. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> to ask unanimous consent address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the
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gentleman from california is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to announce the discovery of a new break through in mathematics of the theory of vector bundles. part of the interest comes from its application to quantum mechanics, the theory that makes modern electronics possible, and particle as a position which is at a point in space and time and an internal structure which is described by the theory of complex specter bundles. there is a new approach to vector bundles in several new areas. just yesterday the mathematical sciences research institute in berkley, california, announced that several young scientists collaborated to discover how to extend this theory into new places such as spheres, the discovery is a significant accomplishment and i commend these young scientists for their hard work and dedication. it's because of efforts like
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this that the u.s. continues to be a leader in innovation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. time is counting down, the holidays are upon us and congress still hasn't come together to spare hardworking middle-class families from the tax hike rushing towards them. ms. hahn: we all know what this tax increase would mean for these families. why aren't we voting on that? why won't we have a vote on protecting the middle class from this tax hike? we know every man is more stressed, more anxiety for mothers and fathers looking at the holiday season, worried about what's waiting for them on the other side. what are we waiting for? i know members of congress might stay here through christmas, but let's make sure that our holiday gift to the american people is a congress
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that doesn't hold the middle-class families hostage. let's bridge the middle-class tax cut to the floor for a vote today. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. ms. lee: thank you, mr. speaker. this month we lost a giant in the music industry. a fellow mills college graduate in my district in oakland, california, dave served as a crucial -- in a crucial role as a jazz visionary who first began his iconic musical experimentation as a student. he subsequently grew to become a world renowned munition and composer, writing more than 200 compositions and making over 115 recordings, including the jazz piece, "take five," which became a best known record. dave has received many national
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and international honors, including the national medal of arts from the president, president clinton, of course, and a lifetime achievement award from the national academy of recording arts and sciences. in 2007 he received the living legend jazz award from the kennedy center and a lifetime achievement award from the london symphony orchestra. i had the privilege to meet dave a couple years ago during one of the amazing musical events held at the library of congress. what an amazing gentleman of such strength and vision. my thoughts and prayers are with his wife and his family during this very difficult period. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? mrs. capps: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentlelady seek unanimous consent? mrs. capps: yes, i do. sequestration will be a huge blow not only to middle-class families but also to our clean energy innovators and
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entrepreneurs. according to the office of management and budget, sequestration would impose an across-the-board cut to nearly 10% to clean energy programs. that would mean a $148 million cut to the department of energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy program alone. these cuts would tremendously damage our ability to develop the clean energy technologies of tomorrow, technologies that lead to not only lower energy bills for our constituents but also to new businesses and middle-class jobs. i see it every day in my congressional district where cutting edge companies like launch point technologies can transform and use federal funding to develop new exciting ideas that would otherwise lange wish on the drawing board -- languish on the drawing board. the threat of the fiscal cliff is real. we need to come together and pass a balanced package that continues building for a clean energy future.
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i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. h.r. 2467, an act to take serl federal lands in mono county, california, into trust for the benefit of the bridgeport indian colony. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed questions will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4053 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 509, h.r. 4053, a bill to intensify efforts to identify, prevent, and recover payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse within federal spending.
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the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentleman from new york, mr. towns, each will control 20 men's. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. federal agencies made an estimated $108 billion in improper payments in fiscal year 2012. $108 billion in improper payments, and that's the estimate of the office of management and budget. now, many programs maintain an alarming rate of improper payments. several programs above 8%. this is an unacceptable waste of taxpayer dollars, and i appreciate my colleague, the departing gentleman from new york, mr. towns, for sponsoring
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this piece of legislation, because here we are fighting for fiscal sanity in this country and we have $108 billion estimated in improper payments. these improper payments occur when federal funds are paid out that should not be paid out. in many instances federal funds are going out to ineligible recipients. last year the inspector general, the office of personnel management found that federal retirement and disability benefits totaling $600 billion were paid out to deceased individuals over a five-year period. the oversight committee and its subcommittees have held a series of hearings in this congress on the issuance of improper payments, and i thank chairman issa for his leadership in holding these hearings and encouraging this piece of legislation being brought to the floor. now, the legislation introduced by mr. towns will help to address the concerns identified at those hearings. h.r. 4053 builds on prior legislation to reduce and prevent improper payments.
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a decade ago, the improper payments information act of 2002 was signed into law, compelling agencies to identify payment errors in specific programs. that 2002 law was updated again in 2010 by the improper payments and elimination recovery act which required better identityification and estimation of improper payments -- identification and estimation of improper payments. the bill before us today goes further by harnessing improved technology to reduce improper payments. it requires the administration a do not pay initiative and enables federal agencies to enter into multilateral data sharing agreements. i commend mr. towns for offering this important piece of legislation in helping to advance the reduction of waste in the federal government. i urge support for h.r. 4053 and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. towns: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
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mr. towns: first of all, i would like to thank the members who worked very hard to make this a reality, and i want to take the opportunity to applaud the leadership and their commitment to the members of congress who have worked so hard on this legislation. . senator harper and senator collins e. and congressman issa and of course congressman cummings from maryland who all worked very closely with us, along were my good friend, congressman platts, to make this day a reality. due to the stewardship, the subcommittee on government organization efficiency and financial management has conducted a series of hearings on the problems of improper payment. and this is the result of our finding on those hearings. i also want to thank the staff
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who also worked very hard on 4053, and of course it is a proud accomplishment because when you listen to the stories of people that are in the military and you hear how they go months and months without their family getting paid, that they are transferred from one base to another and as a result the family does not get paid because they are saying they cannot locate where they are, and of course many times transferred from one base to another you'll find that they are not able to get paid. and i think that that's something we should avoid because here they are defending this country and in a magnificent way and we cannot find a way to get them paid. i think this legislation points out how important it is to be able to get them paid. on that note i'd like to yield one minute to mr. altmire, who was very interested in this and who has expressed over and over
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again how important it is to make certain that our military people are paid on time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. altmire: i thank the gentleman, my good friend from new york. mr. speaker, i rise in support of the improper payments elimination and recovery improvement act, a bill that will help the federal taxpayer dollars against waste, fraud, and abuse. according to the government accountability office, as my friend from utah just said, the federal government made $10 million of improper payments during fiscal year 2012 alone. this is unacceptable and this bill will increase transparency while eliminating and recovering these improper payments through the creation of a governmentwide do-not-pay list. this list will prevent improper payments such as social security checks for deceased americans before that payment ever goes out. national deficit remains one of the biggest challenges facing this country and i'm proud to co-sponsor this bill because it
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protects taxpayer dollars by forcing the federal government to scrutinize every dollar spent just like every american family does. and i urge my colleagues to support its passage. mr. towns: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah. mr. chesapeake bay fets: i have no additional speakers. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. towns: i'm prepared to yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman yield back his time? the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from utah. mr. chesapeake bay fets: mr. speaker, in -- mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, first let me thank my colleague, mr. towns. this very well might be the final bill that is introduced that will pass this body. he is a good and decent gentleman. as a freshman when i came here four years ago, he was one of the most gracious and great people to work with. he was the chairman of our committee. i was a fresh newbie there and yet he helped me in every way
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with a great deal of respect across the aisle. i congratulate him on an amazing experience here in the congress. this is another example of a good bill. this gentleman is putting forward. i wish him nothing but the best in his -- the rest of his career and life and everything else. we need more good people like mr. towns participating in this congress. i congratulate him on this bill. urge the passage of this bill. and thank him for this work. mr. towns: will the gentleman yield? mr. chaffetz: i'm happy to yield. mr. towns: you're right this is probably my final bill. it's been great serving here in this congress for 30 years. you taught me a lot, too. the latest thing you taught me that we are having a hearing with all these professional football players and in terms of how they performed on the field, enhancement drugs, and all that. and when they turned to you because we would say you the only football player on the
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committee, and you said you were not a football player, you were a kicker. i thought that was an interesting comment. i thought all these years you were a football player because you set all those records. i want to thank you so much for your kiped words. it's been a delight working with you as well. i yield back. mr. chaffetz: thank you. reclaiming my time, again i commend the gentleman for this bill, great career, and urge the passage of this bill. and yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4053 as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative -- the gentleman from new york. mr. towns: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of the vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, morph
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that the house suspend the rules and pass senate bill 3315. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 3315. an act to repeal or modify certain mandates of the government accountability office. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentlelady from the district of columbia, ms. norton, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. as we know the government accountability office is a great aid to the united states congress. they help by auditing and examining government programs and reporting its findings to congress. it serves a most valuable position in the work that we do. the g.a.o. is responsible for 102 recurring annual statutory
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mandates and receives over 700 additional requests each year. it's quite a demand on the resource that is we have given them. this bill eliminates or decreases the recurrence of several g.a.o. reports and auditing requirements for federal rp programs for commission. in recent years we have been asking the g.a.o. to do more with less as we should, but g.a.o. will become more efficient by reducing obligations that once served an important purpose. now needlessly consume its limited resources. eliminating these mandates will also allow the g.a.o. to responsible to congressional requests for assistance. g.a.o. handpicked these reports is overly burdensome with modest benefits and the related committees of jurisdiction concur. senator carper introduced senate bill 3315, the g.a.o. mandates revision act, in june of this year, and the measure passed the united states senate by unanimous consent in september. as a consequence, we urge all of
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our colleagues to support this measure and reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentlelady from the district of columbia. ms. norton: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. norton: i rise in support of the bill before us today s. 3315, amending statutes which require the government accounting office to submit annual audits to the congress. while the annual reporting requirements previously mandated are no longer necessary, this bill will require g.a.o. to report its findings to congress on issues covered by the reports every three years. this requirement will provide g.a.o. with a more streamlined approach and report it to congress and will reduce the unnecessary cost and time spent to conduct annual audits or reports on these particular issues.
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it is important to note that all of the committees affected by this legislation have been consulted and agreed to these changes. at a time when constituents are highly demanding, rightly demanding a more efficient government, now is the time to enact this legislation. i thank the majority for bringing this bill to the floor and the senate for passing the underlying measure. mr. speaker, i urge the passage of this bill and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time is reserved. the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers. i'll continue to reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from the district of columbia. ms. norton: i have no speakers. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, we urge the passage of senate bill 3315, introduced by senator carper, it's a good commonsense piece of legislation. the committees of jurisdiction concur. it's bipartisan in the approach. we urge its passage. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
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question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 3315. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: i move the house suspend the rules and pass senate bill 1379. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 1379, an act to amend title 11 district of columbia official code to provide certain administrative authorities of the district of columbia courts and authorize the district of columbia public defenders service to provide professional liability insurance for officers and employees of the service for claims relating to services furnished within the scope of employment with the service. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentlelady from the district of columbia, ms. norton, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr.
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speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. chaffetz: thank you, madam speaker. mr. speaker, senate bill 1379 would grant the district of columbia courts and public defender service greater administrative flexibility in several areas. first, it authorizes the d.c. superior court of the court of appeals to hold additional conferences either annually or biannually, eliminating the current amendment they always poll such conferences each and every year. it requires the magistrate judges to athepped these conferences. and delay judicial deadline in certain emergency situations such as a natural disaster. it also allows the d.c. courts to be reimbursed by the d.c. government for certain office expenses and it gives the d.c. public defender service authority to purchase liability i shurens for its attorneys and changes its term of family court
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judges from five years to three years. nearly identical legislation was approved unanimously by the house in the 111th congress. there is no expected cost associated with the legislation. i'd like to thank the senator for sponsoring this bill and guiding its passage in the other body. i'd like to thank ms. norton for her work to getting this legislation to the floor today. she cares passionately about d.c. and has nothing but its best interest at heart. we listen to that. we hear that. and in part because of that we support this legislation, encourage our colleagues to do the same. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentlelady from the district of columbia. ms. norton: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. norton: i thank the gentleman from utah for his kind remarks. i ask to revise and extend my remarks. i rise today in strong support of the d.c. courts and public defense service act of 2011.
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i would like to thank senator joe lieberman, the chair of the senate homeland security committee which has jurisdiction over the district of columbia, particularly senator daniel akaka, the chair of the senate subcommittee on oversight and government management federal work force and the district of columbia. for author ushering the bill through a subcommittee and getting it passed with a voice vote. both senators lieberman and akaka are retiring this year. they each will leave with legacies of accomplishment to the nation, and both senator lieberman and senator akaka have always been good friends of the district. they will be very much missed in both chambers by all of us.
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but particularly by the residents of the district of columbia. s. 1379 is an important bill for the administration of justice in the district of columbia. it would allow the chief judge of the superior court or the court of appeals to delay judicial proceedings in the event of a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other emergency. it is clear that the nation's capital is at risk to such emergencies, most recently hurricane sandy. the unprecedented storm that devastated the east coast was expected to hit the district much harder than what actually occurred. s. 1379 also allows the chief judge of the court of appeals to hold a judicial conference biannually rather than annually as required by current law. this option is common sense considering the increase in the use of electronic communication
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today and the significant cost savings. the bill also allows the d.c. courts to enter into reimbursable agreements with the d.c. government for equipment, supply, and other services, a measure to assure that reimbursement costs do not come from congressional appropriation. it reduces the term of service from five to three years, required of judges on the family court position of the superior court. a policy aimed at easing the recruitment of able judges to the family court division. in addition, the bill also has the public defender service from the district of columbia, federally funded government agency, to purchase professional liability insurance for its attorneys, staff, and board members. . which is of course indispensible to those who practice law today. i ask my colleagues to join me
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in supporting this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers but i'll continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from the district of columbia. ms. norton: i want to thank the gentleman from utah for his work on this bill, and i particularly want to thank the chairman of the full committee, mr. issa, who went to great lengths to make sure that this bill in fact made the agenda of the conference and who has been so important to understanding and making sure that particularly minor bills like this receive quick treatment. i must say in addition to his work on very, very important bills for the district of columbia that are still in progress, like our budget autonomy bill. with that, mr. speaker, i have no further speakers, and i yield the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, we urge passage and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass s. 1379. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess subject to the call of the chair.
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. >> the house debated three bills today before going into recess. members will return and continue working on a deal to avoid what is called the fiscal cliff, spending cuts, and tax increases that are said to begin in january unless congress acts. we will have why, which when the house returns here on c-span -- bank coverage when the house returns here on c-span but a discussion with chris van hollen on the fiscal cliff
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negotiations. >> this in, i am going to be really brief in my opening remarks. there were two objectives as we approached the at fiscal cliff. number one, to accelerate what remains a fragile economy and put more people back to work. no. 2,, with a balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction. we have to deal with long-term deficit reduction for long-term economic growth, and a balanced plan means a mixture of cuts and revenue. remembering that we have already agreed to over $1 trillion in cuts, which have to be implemented over the next 10 years, but on top of that, the president has proposed additional cuts along with revenue from high-income individuals. his plan has been out there. it has been on the internet. people keep asking for specifics, but the reality is that it is there.
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at the democratic convention, when i made my remarks, i held up a copy of this plan to remind people that is not that the president doesn't have a plan, is that our republican colleagues may not like it. but it is there. >> you are experienced with this, you were on the super committee. what is the practical deadline for the formulation of a deal, or at least a rough outline, if you want to get it done before the year runs out? >> you certainly have got to get something by christmas if you want to practically get it done by the end of the year. >> if you want to avoid the holiday problem, you have to get it done by the end of this week? >> i don't assign a high probability to the end of this
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week. a high hope, but not necessarily a high probability. >> i know there is radio silence, but what the committee chairs and ranking members such as yourself being briefed? >> i don't know the full extent of the consultation. i know that leaders have been kept informed. >> one last for me and then you go down to brian. how confident are you that you and democratic leaders will be able to muster democratic votes if at the cost of living increase for social security and medicare age allapattah eligibility -- eligibility?
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can you get your people? >> we doe known what is in agreement right now but those two particular items create significant concerns within most of the democratic caucus for policy reasons. on the medicare age piece, we think there are far better ways to reduce medicare costs. we think we should build on the model of the affordable care act which reduces costs overall in the melt care system, not simply transfer rising health care costs on the backs of seniors. there are some provisions in the president's proposals that do it the way i suggest. i would point out, if you look at the president's budget proposal over the next 10 years it has more in the way of medicare savings than the ryan republican budget that passed the house and the senate had over the next 10 years. when the republican colleagues put these big numbers on the table just remember, the president's budget proposal, again, over the next 10 year,
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the one that was adopted before has more medicare savings. he does it in a different way than republicans. for example, he asks pharmaceutical companies to pay the same rebates they were paying in 2003 for prescription drugs. but he has more savings but he doesn't pass the cost on to the backs of seniors whose medium income is under $22,000. i would also say it has other impacts in terms of policy with interaction on the affordable care act. in terms of social security, our view is that social security needs to be dealt with on its own terms. right now the social security system is owed over $2.2 trillion. after that point in time, it can pay 75 cents on the dollar.
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we need to work together in a bipartisan way to fix that, you know, 25 cent on the dollar hole beginning in 2033. we do not believe we should take from social security as part of these deficit reduction talks. then there are other specific issues that relate to seniors who get very old because of its compounding effect it has significant affects on people's income the longer they live. >> we're going to go to brian butler. >> a lot of republicans are talking about the possibility that january 1 -- that maybe the house passes the bill but then they turn around and do what they want to do in terms of entitlements. are democrats ready for that?
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>> i think this notion that republicans are going to threaten the united states and the international economy to exact certain demands is one that the american people are not going to stand for this final. which is why the president has made clear is "not going to play that game." if you think the fiscal cliff has the potential to have a negative economic impact, and it does to a -- especially if you go far into january and beyond. but fooling around with the debt ceiling is catastrophic. i don't think our republican colleagues are going to gain any sympathy from the american public when they are threatening to tank the u.s. economy. i know all of you understand, but i think it is important that people following these
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discussions recognize that lifting the debt ceiling is not to borrow money to pay for new things. it is to pay for bills that the united states has already incurred, that congress has already voted on. it would be like getting up one morning and saying we're not going pay our mortgage or it is like if we all spend on the credit card, buying things we like, then we're not going pay the bill. so for the united states of america to wake up one morning and say we're not paying our bills would be economic catastrophic. >> does that rule skip operative or can you see a way that they can do the heavy lifting and you can get enough votes to get it over? >> as i look through different scenarios i think the idea that the speaker may have to bring
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something for the good of the country to the floor of the house, that does not get a majority of republican votes may be necessary to get something done. i think the biggest impediment right now is the speaker's ability to get a decent number of republican votes for an agreement that most people would agree is a fair agreement. the president has been pretty clear that he's willing to make some tough compromises. he also wants to remind people that he won the election talking about a lot of the same issues we're talking about. so whatever agreement we reach needs to reflect that reality. so i think one way to get this done, and people need to understand we could get this done if the speaker is willing to bring to the floor of the
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house a bill that did not necessarily get a majority of republican votes. i'm getting concerned that one of the reasons the speaker is deciding to string out these decisions, is that he wants to wait until january 3, when the election for speaker takes place. he's concerned that any agreement he reaches, if it violated the so-called rule could undermine support for his cause and make it more difficult for him on january 3. i would hope he would put the interest of getting an agreement before house republican politics. >> we're going to go next to mac then to chris and then to lauren fox.
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>> [inaudible] what is the deal with sequestration? no one is talking about it. i want to get a sense from you whether these defense cuts are being addressed or talked about? whether they have a seat at the table and whether you are confident they are going to be you have set in some way or changed in any sort of fiscal cliff deal? >> yes, i think one of the reasons that the sequestration has gotten less attention is because the operating assumption -- more than assumption, i think the operating understanding of people involved in discussions is if you can resolve the other pieces then you can use the deficit reduction achieved from the other components, both the revenue component and the cut component to replace the sequester. whether you replace it on a 10
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year basis which costs about $1 trillion or if you do it on a year basis which is about $110 billion. whatever we come up with as part of an agreement should certainly be able to offset at very least the first year of the sequester. onyou can't get an agreement all the issues, including the tax piece, could you come up with a smaller package to avoid the sequester? of course, that is possible but i don't know how likely. we could do that quickly if people were willing to put together a package of $110 billion in both revenue and cuts to replace the sequester for a year. >> chris? >> tell me what you think the legacy of the congress will be? economica brink of an disaster.
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what does this mean for where congress is heading? >> well, i think, i mean, we know the 112th congress, at least is judged by the american people and also judged by overall work product has been one of the least productive congress in recent history. a lot less productive in previous period, 2008 to 2010. most of it was consumed -- most of the energy was consumed on these budget issues and the reason we're here today, on the edge of the fiscal cliff is this congress, at least so far, has not resolved those big issues. that is starting with the biden talks, we obviously accomplished
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some savings as part of the budget control act. i want to emphasize, not people around this table but others forget, we agree to $1 trillion in cuts. 100% cuts. now we're in this position that we are now because at that time and in both the biden talks and the so-called super committee talks democrats said we want to take a balanced approach to the deficit. we are willing to do cuts but the composition of the cuts is something we can debate. but our republican colleagues have been absolutely refused to deal with the revenue part of the balanced approach. now we've seen some movement. although i would point out the letter the speaker sent to the white house says he wants $800 billion but still refuses to
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identify how they would achieve that. as of right now, i mean the president has been clear how he wants to get the revenue and the cuts. that letter from speaker boehner doesn't specify how they would get the revenue. nor does it specify how they would get the cuts with. exception of the two items that dave mentioned earlier. which by the way, don't begin to get you the $900 billion in mandatory spending and the $300 cuts in discretionary spending? >> i want to go back to the point that you made about the speaker needing to bring a plan to the floor of the house that the majority of his caucus wouldn't necessarily vote for. can you talk about what is happening in trying to get votes for something that may raise tax rates or folks who
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have taken a pledge on not raising the tax rates. >> on the republican side? >> yes. >> i don't know how it is going. there are some reports they haven't begun, we're testing different scenarios with their members yet so we don't know. the point i think the speaker should make to his caucus is that even if they are against it, they should vote against it. but that he's doing the republican party a favor, certainly doing a country a favor, but i would argue doing the national republican party a favor by allowing us to get this issue behind us. it is really clear that the american people don't like the idea that the economy is being held hostage to the fiscal cliff and middle-income
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taxpayers are being held hostage in order for republicans to get this bonus tax break on people's income above $250,000. far be it for me to give the speaker advice but there is an argument to be made to go ahead and vote against this, i'm not talking about everybody but a good chunk, maybe even a majority. let's get beyond this point and get on to other things and because as you know the biggest tax increase happens if we do nothing. that's a $5 trillion tax increase. what the president has proposed is taking $1.6 trillion of that revenue, take $1.6 trillion from high income earners but if we go over the cliff we get $5 trillion and on top of that the end of the payroll tax holiday
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which i believe we should continue in that form or find an alternative that has the same economic benefit going forward. according to the congressional budget office dollar for dollar the payroll tax cut does a lot more for economic growth than some of the other tax extensions. certainly, more economic benefit than extending tax breaks above $250,000. >> under the scenario in which the speaker brought to the floor that basically extended the middle class tax cuts but pretty much nothing else. are those -- under those conditions do you think democratic votes can really carry the day in the house?
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>> are you asking two questions -- right if you brought that to the floor of the house the democrats would vote for it. we called for the speaker to bring the bill to the floor of the house. we would prefer, as the president said, to try to get good night agreement that deals with a lot of these issues. you mention things that are important, the president has an influx and wants to invest in infrastructure, we would like to deal with some of the other pieces as part of an agreement now. but if the speaker, you know, is unable to get his members together for an agreement and wants to bring that bill before the house, democrats will support it. you raised a question about whether republicans will support it and obviously, if republicans oppose the bill i
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assume under those circumstances we could maybe get that passed. it is not the ideal result, obviously but it would avoid the biggest chunks of the fiscal cliff. it would extend middle class tax cuts, it will include the a.m.t. fix, those are things that are a part of the bill. i should point out that -- if republicans want to take that approach on january 1, the state tax will revert to about $1 million exception, i think it is 55% rate. what the president has called for is a very reasonable alternative which is to take the estate tax to the generous state tax benefit, you know, since early time in the 20th century which is the 2009 levels
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which called for a $5 million -- you're first $5 million of an estate no estate tax then to go back to the 45% rate that applied instead of the current 35% rate. the current provision was an incredible sweetheart deal for the wealthiest estates in the entire country. i mean, maybe, like, between 6,000 and 10,000 estates. the american people don't like the idea that the republicans are holding the middle class hostage in order to lock in tax breaks for income above $250,000. i think republicans are going to be hard pressed to hold the economy hostage in order to get these sweetheart estate tax deal for the 6,000 to 10,000 wealthiest estates in the entire country.
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>> i'm wondering if you could speak a little bit more about the stimulus measures and the president's proposal. i'm told they are not a priority in discussions right now. i'm wondering if you can predict the likelihood of these measures surviving in some sort of deal, or you know which of the measures will survive in some sort of deal. or what would the likelihood of these coming up later? >> sure. i think the president, actually, is very focused on trying to get important pieces of the legislation to extend the economic recovery and accelerate it. these are items taken from his jobs initiative which have been sitting in front of the house of representatives for over a year now.
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one is investing in infrastructure for our roads, bridges, our transit ways. if we look at the fact that we have huge unmet infrastructure needs across the country and combine that with the unemployment rate in construction remains higher. it makes a lot of sense that the borrowing costs are low right now for a project like that. so that is one item. extending unemployment compensation for people who are out of work through no fault of their own. if you go back to the congressional budget analysis that is one thing that would have a dramatic -- dollar for dollar an important economic benefit. it is not just to help the families that are out of work through no fault of their own get enough money to pay their bills, it is good for everybody.
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those are people who are on extremely -- extremely tough circumstances. for every dollar they get they go to the shops and buy goods and services. that is why it has an important economic benefit. those two items are important. i mentioned an extension of the pay roll tax holiday that also has an important economic benefit. we're talking about 160 million working americans with a little bit more money in their pockets to go out and spend. so, you know, i think those items all remain an important part of the conversation. i think they are going -- they are priorities. >> we're going to go to corey. >> i understand your democratic
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concerns to cuts of social security. if the president and the speaker reach a deal do you plan a passage to the house of representatives? >> until you reach a deal you can't predict what will pass on the republican side or the democratic side. i think the president -- i think democrats are confident of the president is fighting hard for the priorities that he ran on and the priorities he won on. but every member of congress reserves the right to look at the agreement and decide whether to support it or not. just to clarify again, the president has put forward proposals on cuts. he has $600 billion in
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additional cuts and savings beyond the $1 trillion that was part of the budget control act. his bucket has more -- the budget he submitted last year, has more medicare savings over the next 10 years than the ryan republican budget had over the next 10 years. it suggests that the president isn't prepared to make cuts and do savings. it is that our republican colleagues don't like the way he has done it. i do feel a little whiplashed on this medicare issue. i think all of us remember four weeks ago i think it was, we saw all sort of republican and romney ads beating up on the president for saving too in medicare. now the criticism is that he is not prepared to do more. the difference is the republican definition of medicare reform is not to reduce health care costs overall, not to improve costs overall, not to improve coordination of care, it is to

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